Monday, Nov 24, 2003
Okay, the Clif's Notes version of my last five days (take two).
Thursday I was signed up to go to a philanthropic luncheon and in the evening join up with Ammy and Karen to see War Daddy, the play that Rachel was stage managing at the Zeum.
Midday Wednesday I knew that things would get too busy so I bowed out of the luncheon and had to postpone going to the play until this weekend. It turned out it was a good thing that I cancelled because I ended up staying at work all day and all night on thursday, not coming home at all, and grabbing a quick 90 minutes of sleep in a coworker's office. First time pulling an all-nighter at Google, and hopefully not a frequent occurance.
Incidentally, we're moving offices this weekend, and cardboard boxes and stickers were passed around earlier in the week. Anyhow, I worked pretty much solid until 5pm when I found out that 'be packed by the time you leave for the weekend' actually meant 'be packed by 6 when the movers start moving' (my fault, didn't read the faq closely enough). So, by 6:15 my GoogleLife is in boxes and stickered, and I'm out the door.
I was supposed to go to Liz's birthday/housewarming party on Friday night, but running on only 90 minutes sleep in the previous 40 hours, I knew I wasn't fit to drive the 140 miles to Sacramento, especially when I knew I'd have to drive back that evening to be ready to go to the Big Game (Cal vs. Stanford) on Saturday morning. So I went home and tried to sleep for about an hour before waking up to answer the phone.
After that I didn't get back to bed until after midnight, my circadian rhythms in direct opposition to my serotonin levels, making everything feel a little distant. Friday Night Waltz was at the same time, and 100 miles closer, but I didn't even think of going. Home was my final destination for the night.
Saturday morning Karen and I made an easy journey to Stanford, thanks to Rachel dropping us off on the way to work. Good thing to, since this is the first Stanford Big Game in decades without CalTrain access, since they've shut the train down on weekends for the last year and a half and didn't change the schedule for the event. (This is stupid because the way most public transit agencies increase ridership is when they introduce new potential riders to the system when they do one-off events like games and concerts. If you only run on weekdays, then only those people who use your train for commuting find out about your train. Chicken, I'd like you to meet egg.) Anyhow, Palo Alto was a resultant mess that we got to glide through relatively unscathed.
The game was a lot of fun. Both teams played badly at first, but it was nice to come from behind and pound the other team. This was also the first time I'd actually gone to a Big Game as a bona-fide alumnus. Karen wrote up a bit more on the game and the aftermath.
Karen dropped me off at the Zeum at 7:27pm for a 7:30pm curtain and I'm so glad I made it on time, though I'm so sorry that my own planning ended up making Karen sick so that she couldn't go. The show didn't actually start for another 10 minutes or so, so I even got to catch my breath.
Watching theatre alone is such a different experience for me than watching in a group. Somehow experiencing art with others, I feel that I have to immediately encapsulate my feelings and opinions into communicable nuggets, like I'm writing an essay, or at least that I have to have formed an opinion by the time the curtain falls. Seeing a play on my own I feel freer to experience it, rather than judge it.
While experiencing the play I realized a few things about my own approach to creative endeavors. I don't like anything I make to go out into the world until it's perfect. I realized on Saturday that this isn't because I'm so much a perfectionist, as it is that the kinds of art I produce are ones that stay up for a while, where imperfections are more glaring, and where the work is such an intentional act that improvisation is almost impossible. The musician can change a riff on the fly, or a painter can be very free with their brush, knowing both that the randomness and carefree effect can boost the work, and that the act itself is quick. Inspiration does play a large role in web design, but improvisation is harder to pull off, since every effect on the page is time-consuming enough to be deliberate by nature, and the best that one can hope for is for carefree inspiration that they can hold on to while transforming it into code.
Even then, if you make tools that people will use thousands of times, utility has to take a front seat to free-expression, and while aesthetics are vital, possibly even more important than in the more ephemeral disciplines of the performing arts, they're there to indicate the piece's function, or to create an emotional space to frame the work in.
It's probably a good thing I don't go to plays alone very often.
But even so, all that said, this is one of the reasons I so enjoyed riding Amtrak to and from Yahoo, more than a year ago. Setting myself to start writing in Oakland and to have a finished piece by Santa Clara, I started to see writing as an impromptu performance art, instead of a crafted and re-crafted tailored work to be scrutinized. I don't expect anyone to read what I write twice, or to write about what I write.
Back to my weekend, I enjoyed the play. I was impressed by many of the youth actors, though I felt that the playwriting lacked significant differentiation in most of the characters' dialogue. I love the Zeum's theater. It's just intimate enough to saddle the line between a performance to the audience and a performance with the audience. And of course it was technically great. After all, it had a great stage manager. :-)
Today was a day of relative sloth. There were many small things that needed to be done around the house, and Rachel, angel that she is, got the day started for us with omelettes in bed! Add on my organizing and archiving files off my powerbook before installing OS X 10.3, catching up on a little TV, a little email, and a little websurfing, and suddenly it's after midnight and I'm wondering where the day went.
In the morning I'm heading over to the new office to unpack my boxes and set up the computer, find out whether the new office has a bathroom closer than my old cube's 79 paces. We're right next to the kitchen area, which means far too many snacks in far too close proximity. Virtually nothing will get accomplished Monday, what with everyone unpacking, learning the lay of things, and with so many of us making ready for early Thanksgivings.
Rachel and I are flying out tomorrow night for Los Angeles where we'll stay a night before flying to Kauai with the greater family for Thanksgiving in Hawaii. It'll be nice to get away.
For the past few weeks I've been feeling a little growing ennui, especially when I'm alone. I don't know if I'm experiencing it more now, or if I'm just noticing it more now, but as I sit at home when Rachel's off shopping, visiting Nym, or off running a show, I sometimes compare the mental me to the person I'd expect I'd be and I seem muted. I'm not looking for sympathy, but I feel that acknowledging this alteration is probably an important step in changing it, and so I put it here to pin this acknowledgement down.
So yeah, Tomorrow night is LA, then Kauai, then back to LA and back here on an unspecified flight.
Overall, life is very, very good. Trouble is, I can usually identify problems and fix them when things aren't going their best. Right now though, I feel like fixing the problem involves letting go of something I don't yet want to let go of, because I feel like if I loose my grip I'll forget what it was like to hold on to it.
I'm sorry if this doesn't make any sense to newer readers, or even those who have been here for a while. Maybe it makes a lot of sense. I don't really know. I'm just looking forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas. I have so much to be thankful for, and though I may have less now, I value it so much more.
Anyhow, next week Rachel starts work on her next gig, a production of the Santaland Diaries, I have my company party, we might get to go to Dickens Fair, and then the next week I'll be getting my new car, and then it's only a few more weeks to Christmas.
And, as I've thought every Sunday night since I came back to the Bay Area three months ago, I know I'm lucky when I remember that tomorrow's Monday and I need to go to work, and it fills me with excitement.
I hope y'all had a good weekend.
If you like it, please share it.
Hi, I'm Kevin Fox.
I also have a resume.
I'm co-founder in
The Imp is a computer and wi-fi connection smaller and cheaper than a memory card.
We're also hiring.
©2012 Kevin Fox